Louie S03E04: Daddy’s Girlfriend: Part 1

If there’s one thing I’m interested in, like as a human, it’s the whole love thing. It’s fascinating. It’s also a great excuse not to worry about your life’s workaday concerns, like finding work some day. Louie tends to all my emotionally indulgent needs this week with a whole episode dedicated to the highs and lows of being single and trying to alter that state.

First off there’s another great scene with his daughters at lunch, where he demands his 10% food tax and it is adorable. There’s a little discussion about why tyranny and tyrant have different vowel values for the first syllable, and about why Daddy doesn’t have a girlfriend when Mommy has a boyfriend who is funny and was on a blimp once. Obviously this is enough for Louie to embark on a partner-finding mission, finding fellow comic Maria Bamford at the Comedy Cellar doing a delightful skit about leaving messages on her mother’s phone pretending to be the baby Jesus. His unsubtle advances have the desired effect and they end up in bed together, seemingly in a state of total dismay, watching a brilliant parody of reality television.

Immediately afterwards he tries to convince Maria to come have dinner with him and his kids: just as immediately she makes a face of total nausea and asks ‘what am I, your girlfriend?’ She leaves and tells him he’s bad at sex. Like three times. But, she sees right through Louie’s crap and isn’t afraid to call him out on his ulterior motives. The arrangement they had was fine until he ‘tried to add features to it’ that weren’t part of the unspoken contract. When they spot each other at a later date at the comedy club the awkward/resentful look leaves an almost tangible mark.

After the  break, he drops his daughter off at school and starts creepily ogling a series of teachers in an increasingly desperate and weird fashion, to the tune of something with piano and slightly sleazy saxophone. The scene is mostly to set that up as a theme to riff on later, and made me feel hella uncomfortable. Bleugh.

Back on the stand up stage Louie does a great little number on something I hadn’t noticed about sports: only tennis and golf players do that fist pump come on thing, and it’s because they’re alone. How poignant is that? Footballers and baseballers have teammates to hug and hifive and share their success with, Rafa Nadal has to do it by himself. I won’t look at that gesture the same way again.

Louie has also managed to bump into one more idle fantasy-vehicle: a lady working in a bookshop played by Parker Posey. Once again he uses false pretences to carry on a conversation, this time citing a need to buy a book for his daughter, but which leads into a more extensive chat about the bookseller’s own childhood. After a couple of flubbed attempts, he steels himself, shaves off his non-goatee stubble and asks her out in the most circumlocutious, self-deprecating-yet-self-aggrandising manner, much like his confession of love last season. Again, it’s totally charming, and successful, at least for now. Posey’s response of ‘you’re not a troll, get some confidence’ is worthwhile advice for Louie, especially considering his other attempts at romance this year. If you’re not planning on watching the whole show, here’s a transcript of his asking-outalogue.

And he brings back the tennis-pump with ultimate effect. So a really great episode! I like these ones partly because they’re easier to warm to and partly because they have that element of unexpected empathy that characterises so much of makes the show the quiet breath of fresh air that it is. It shows weaknesses and faults and evens them out with some realistically framed instances of kindness and emotional generosity. And that’s kind of a rare thing.

Will next week bring all that down? Probably. But let’s enjoy it for now.



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